Cougars News · Championship Basketball & Baseball Coach passes away


Richard T. “Rich” Sonson, 73 of Robinson Township, formerly of Washington died Friday-November 22, 2019 in Allegheny General Hospital following a brief and courageous battle with cancer.  He was born October 27, 1946 in Washington, PA the son of the late Vincent A. and Florence Lombardo Sonson.  Mr. Sonson was Roman Catholic by faith.  He graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in 1964.  Mr. Sonson then served in the United States Navy from 1965 until 1969 during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Ozark MCS 2.  After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Mr. Sonson enrolled at California State College graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1972.

Following his education at California State College, Mr. Sonson began a 30 year career as an Earth Science Teacher at Carlynton High School.  He served as the head boy’s basketball, baseball and golf coach for many years at Carlynton. Mr. Sonson also served as an assistant football and middle school girls basketball coach at different time period over the years while at Carlynton.  His 1988 Carlynton Boys Basketball Team won the W.P.I.A.L. Championship and his 1992 Carlynton Boys Basketball Team became State Champions.  Mr. Sonson also had many teams that were finalists in the W.P.I.A.L. and State Championships over the years.

Following his teaching and coaching career at Carlynton, Mr. Sonson went on to become the head coach of the boy’s basketball team at Canon McMillan High School for three years.  He then went on to become an assistant boys basketball coach at Chartiers Houston High School for five years and was also the head golf coach at Chartiers Houston for sixteen years.  Mr. Sonson finished out his coaching career serving as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Washington and Jefferson College for two years.  Throughout his entire forty year coaching career, Mr. Sonson accumulated 823 combined wins as a head coach in basketball, baseball and golf.

In 1992 Mr. Sonson was selected as the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Tribune Review Coach of the Year and in the same year was selected to coach the Roundball Classic.  He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Washington-Greene Chapter in 2005 and was inducted into the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame in 2010.

Mr. Sonson started his 59 year career as a barber while in the eighth grade to help support his family financially while his father was ill.  After retiring from teaching, Mr. Sonson worked at “Steve’s Barber Shop” before eventually taking over ownership of the shop and renaming it “Rich’s Barber Shop”.

Mr. Sonson was an avid golfer.  He was a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh.  Mr. Sonson was a longtime season ticket holder of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He was a member of the Washington Country Club, the Canonsburg AHEPA Chapter No. 156, the Pulaski Club, the Arms Club and the American Legion Edwin Scott Linton Post # 175.

Most of all, Mr. Sonson was a true family man.  He enjoyed spending time with his entire family and loved to attend all of his grandchildren’s sporting events and activities.  His family meant everything to him.  He will be dearly missed by all that knew and loved him.

On June 15, 1968 he married Margaret Jean “Peg” Provenzano who survives.  Also surviving are two sons, Craig (Susan) Sonson and Richard (Rachel) Sonson Jr. both of Robinson Twp.; a brother, John (Connie) Sonson of Hopewell PA; two sisters, Marilyn (Bogie) Couts of Washington and Lisa (David) Amistade of Washington; four grandchildren, Kaitlin, Kylee, C.J. and Ahlaya Sonson all of Robinson Twp.; an uncle, Leonard Sonson of Washington and several cousins, nieces and nephews.  Mr. Sonson is also survived by the thousands of student athletes whose lives he touched over the years.

Friends will be received on Monday-November 25, 2019 from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. and on Tuesday-November 26, 2019 from 1 – 3 and 6 – 8 P.M. in the Warco-Falvo Funeral Home, Inc., Wilson at East Katherine Ave. Washington, S. Timothy Warco, Supervisor/Director, Susan Falvo Warco, Director, S. Timothy Warco II, Director.  A prayer service will be held at 9:00 A.M. on Wednesday-November 27, 2019 in the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial which will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. in the Immaculate Conception Church, 119 W. Chestnut St. Washington with the Rev. Richard J. Wesoloski as celebrant.  Entombment will follow in Washington Cemetery.  Full military rites will be accorded by the American Legion Edwin Scott Linton Post # 175 and the United States Navy.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Jimmy V. Foundation for Cancer Research at www.v.org  Condolences may be expressed at www.WarcoFalvoFuneralHome.com